May 2018

IZA DP No. 11547: A Double Machine Learning Approach to Estimate the Effects of Musical Practice on Student's Skills

This study investigates the dose-response effects of making music on youth development. Identification is based on the conditional independence assumption and estimation is implemented using a recent double machine learning estimator. The study proposes solutions to two highly practically relevant questions that arise for these new methods: (i) How to investigate sensitivity of estimates to tuning parameter choices in the machine learning part? (ii) How to assess covariate balancing in high-dimensional settings? The results show that improvements in objectively measured cognitive skills require at least medium intensity, while improvements in school grades are already observed for low intensity of practice.